With summer in full swing, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota wants consumers to be mindful of dishonest door-to-door sales tactics.
Though many door-to-door salespeople operate honestly and represent trustworthy businesses, there are others who want to make a quick buck and move on as quickly as possible, sometimes leaving customers wondering if they’ve just been scammed.
Door-to-door salespeople could be pitching anything from alarm systems and landscaping services to cutlery and food storage. Some charitable organizations conduct door-to-door fundraisers, too. Before buying anything, though, make sure to follow these guidelines as recommended by BBB:
• Ask for identification: A reputable seller won’t be afraid to provide you with all requested information, including a photo ID and business card.
• Inquire about licensing: Many city ordinances require door-to-door salespeople to have a solicitor’s license. Ask the salesperson if they’ve obtained proper licensing or checked in with City Hall.
• Verify the person and the business: Ask for the seller’s offer in writing and research the business after the seller is gone. Contact them directly to verify the salesperson is an employee and research the company at www.bbb.org. You can always wait to make a purchase.
• Read the contract: Don’t skip the fine print! Make sure you understand the terms and conditions before signing anything. You can always say no, even in the face of high-pressure sales tactics.
• Know your rights: The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives consumers three days to cancel purchases more than $25 that are made in their home or at a location that’s not the seller’s permanent place of business. By law, salespeople should give the customer a receipt and a cancellation form that can be sent to the business to cancel the agreement. Businesses must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
It’s OK to be skeptical: Some consumers feel bad not giving sellers the benefit of the doubt, but if something seems not-quite-right, don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions or pass on the offer altogether.
Don’t forget, BBB is here to support consumers before and after making a purchase. Along with researching a business on www.bbb.org or by calling 800-646-6222, people who have been scammed or think they may have been scammed should report their experience on our Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us.